Use double quotes to find documents that include the exact phrase: "aerodynamic AND testing"

Providing evidence-based sport and physical activity opportunities that intentionally support the development of physical literacy can help youth rebound from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Activities that are fun, challenging yet accomplishable, and that spark creativity in movement welcome youth back to the playing field and hold promise for keeping them engaged in the long-term.

Researchers’ understanding of overtraining syndrome (OTS) is guiding their advice for athlete return to sport in the case of post COVID-19 condition, also known as long-COVID. Those experiencing long-COVID should moderate their activity in the same way as overtrained athletes, with “symptom-titrated physical activity,” the gradual reintroduction of intensity based on close monitoring of an individuals’ symptoms. In the case of both OTS and long-COVID, there is no one-size-fits-all recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted girls’ participation in sport and physical activity. Findings from Canadian Women & Sport suggest that 1 in 4 girls are not committed to returning to sport. Involving girls in planning their return to play can be one way to encourage girls’ participation.

Strategic planning can be a helpful tool in navigating changing and dynamic environments, particularly as community sport organizations begin the process of COVID-19 recovery. Talking to stakeholders, evaluating club resources, considering the community profile, and examining the competition are important steps to consider when beginning the strategic planning process.

Research shows that many girls leave sport when they reach adolescence. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified this trend, with 1 in 4 girls not committed to returning to their pre-pandemic sports. There are many reasons that girls leave sport, from a lack of girl-specific programming to socialization and gender expectations. Research insights help us to move forward with creating inclusive sport environments and sustainable sport experiences for girls.

When it comes to sedentary behaviour (waking time spent at rest in a sitting or reclined position), Canadian adults received a grade of F in the 2021 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Adults. Not surprisingly, more than 60% of Canadians reported spending more time using the internet and watching TV during the pandemic. Take an “active break” every 30 minutes during periods of inactivity and see how you feel both physically and mentally.

This blog recaps the first webinar in the 4‑part mini-series Engaging Girls and Women in Sport. SIRC and Canadian Women & Sport co-hosted the mini-series, which you can access or learn more about by visiting our SIRC Expert Webinars page.

Diverse girls wearing face masks giving an elbow bump.The COVID‑19 pandemic continues to disrupt the sport in Canada and around the world. While temporary closures were predictable during a global pandemic, their lasting impact is cause for concern. For example, research shows that youth sport participation is decreasing, especially among girls. Even before COVID‑19, as many as 62% of Canadian girls weren’t involved in any sports.

To better understand the impact of the pandemic on Canadian girls’ sport participation, Canadian Women & Sport partnered with E-Alliance and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. They surveyed girls aged 13 to 18 and parents of girls aged 6 to 12. Their report, COVID Alert: Pandemic Impact on Girls in Sport, reveals that 1 in 4 Canadian girls (6 to 18 years) who participated in sport at least weekly prior to COVID‑19 aren’t committed to returning to sport once COVID‑19 restrictions disappear.

The first webinar in the mini-series was Getting Girls Back in the Game. The webinar involved 3 panelists, including a sport researcher and community sport leaders. They discussed the research behind the report and how these trends are playing out on the ground in Canada. This blog post highlights key takeaways from their discussion, including common issues and barriers affecting girls’ sport participation and potential solutions for getting girls back in the game.

Webinar panelists included:

Common issues and barriers affecting girls’ sport participation

girl soccer players on a sidelineThe panelists kicked off the webinar by reflecting on how the findings of the COVID Alert report mirrored what they saw in their own communities. Paul noted that the effect of the pandemic on girls’ participation in her water polo club varied. Girls in the high performance group were less interested in coming back to training than younger athletes, possibly reflecting a shift in priorities. Pegoraro pointed out that access to sports, through schools for younger girls and community-based organizations for older athletes, may account for differences in participation by age group. Meanwhile, Bradley confirmed that some of her younger soccer players experienced poor mental health and limited opportunities for social connection during the pandemic.

According to the panelists, cost has been the most common barriers to girls’ sport participation during the pandemic. Financial barriers include a loss of funding opportunities for community-run sports clubs and families’ concerns over their ability to cover participation fees, especially with uncertainties about pandemic closures.

Another barrier is the lack of social connection. While having peers who play sports helps create positive environments for girls and increases girls’ engagement, the opposite is also true. “Missing friends was key,” according to Pegoraro. “That social connectedness is a lever point of trying to figure out what we can learn to bring groups back together.”

Finally, spending time away from sports can change girls’ interest in participation, commitment to training or confidence in their athletic ability.

Getting girls back in the game

Girls performing martial arts in a karate studioReflecting on these barriers, the panelists shared their recommendations on how sports leaders can help get girls back in the game:

  1. Collaborate across sports

Conventional approaches encourage girls to choose between sports. Instead, Bradley suggested collaboration across sports and between clubs. Teaming up with other organizations to share best practices can help encourage girls to stay in sports.

“I think leaning into organizations around you, in sharing resources, [is] important. Pre-pandemic, a lot of us held cards to our heart and were not as open about struggles. The pandemic has showed us all that it’s time to open up and work together.”

Melanie Bradley
  1. Encourage athletes to try new roles

One way to reignite girls’ interest in sport is through new roles, which can include coaching, refereeing or decision-making roles. A great way to keep girls in sport is to encourage them to stay involved in ways that speak to their interests.

“We did lose a fair number of our high school girls. We lost them as athletes. However, as a club we tried to connect to them to retrain them as officials or coaches. We lost athletes through the pandemic, but we didn’t necessarily lose all of those girls from sport.”

Raine Paul
  1. Create safe spaces allowing girls to return at their own pace

The pandemic has negatively affected the physical and mental health of many Canadians. That’s why it’s vital to create safe spaces to allow girls to return to sport at their own pace. Flexible schedules with varying commitment levels can help athletes avoid physical injury. Meanwhile, being mindful of the potential changes to athletes’ confidence levels as a result of spending time away from sports, can help address the mental challenges.

“We also have to be aware that girls are going to be super self-conscious as they come out of bedrooms and houses and lack of activity. And so, thinking of ways that you can bring them back into sport environments in a way where they’re less self conscious about their body [is important].”

Ann Pegoraro

Future directions

Field hockey female players run with ball in attackWrapping up the discussion, the panelists identified several success factors that can help encourage girls’ sports participation. Policy changes were the first item on the panelists’ list. Pegoraro noted that government policy can help to drive funding for future sports opportunities for girls and women and break down existing financial barriers.

The second success factor was building positive social influences. This can be done by having positive role models among girls and women, encouraging social connection through “buddy systems” within clubs and organizations, and supporting parents in getting active and understanding the importance of sports for children.

The final factor was ensuring that clubs and organizations address safety concerns in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. They must also follow recommended health guidelines to help encourage more girls to get back in the game.

Although it isn’t clear yet when the pandemic will end or what its lasting impacts may be, we can take steps to reduce its effects on youth sport participation, especially among girls. Understanding barriers to sport participation, considering creative ways of supporting girls’ return to sport, and identifying ways to ensure continued sport participation in the future can help us all work together to get girls back in the game.

About the panelists

Find out more about the webinar panelists, access a recording of the Getting Girls Back in the Game webinar or learn more about the Engaging Girls and Women in Sport mini-series by visiting the SIRC Expert Webinars page.

About Canadian Women & Sport

Canadian Women & Sport is dedicated to creating an equitable and inclusive Canadian sport and physical activity system that empowers girls and women. The aim is to empower them as active participants and leaders, within and through sport. With a focus on systemic change, we partner with sport organizations, governments, and leaders to challenge the status quo and build better sport through gender equity.

COVID-19 has significant health impacts, making it a concern for elite athletes. Encouragingly, a study from the United Kingdom shows that most national team athletes with COVID-19 only experienced mild illness. But it’s not the same for everyone. Athletes with symptoms in the lower respiratory tract, such as chest pain, were more likely to have a delayed return-to-play.

After 2020 surprised us all with a global pandemic, many of us looked to 2021 with hope for a gradual return to our pre-pandemic “normal.” And with the widespread rollout and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines across the country, the activities that we put on hold as the pandemic unfolded, from social gatherings to travel, began to make a comeback.

Look no further than the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which brought together nearly 15,000 athletes in the summer of 2021, for an example of how the sporting world has learned to adapt and thrive in the age of COVID-19. The Government of Canada also committed $170 million in funding to support the recovery of the sport sector in its 2021 Budget, further reinforcing sport’s crucial role in our country’s broader social and economic recovery.

 And while we continue to face challenges, from new COVID-19 variants to climate disasters, SIRC continues to provide credible, responsive and relevant content to meet the needs of the Canadian sport sector. For a closer look at how SIRC embraced the “new normal” in 2021, cruise through our top content in SIRC’s 2021 year in review.


Mature woman wearing swim goggles at swimming pool. Fit active senior woman enjoying retirement standing in swimming pool and looking at camera. Happy senior healthy old woman enjoying active lifestyle.The 2021 Winter SIRCuit put a spotlight on Masters Athletes, an important call to action for creating better sport experiences for adults that are “beyond the typical age of peak performance.” Masters Athletes (Mas) can often be an after-thought in sport organizations, but this article speaks to the tremendous opportunity and value in reversing that trend.


SIRC produced an important blog in collaboration with the BIPOC Varsity Association at the University of Toronto: Tackling racism on campus. It includes an innovative approach to combatting racism within universities and colleges.

February also featured SIRC’s 2021 Concussion in Sport Symposium. The symposium focused on key research topics emerging in the concussion field, such as sex- and gender-related differences in concussions. It also featured key leaders in sport, such as Canadian Men’s National Team Head Coach, John Herdman.


SIRC launched Mom’s Got Game, an awareness campaign supporting and celebrating moms’ participation in sport and physical activity. In collaboration with Bell Media and other partners, we brought attention to the latest research and evidence. We also called on moms to share their stories of success and challenges, and the results were inspiring.


SIRC’s webinars continued into April, with a new mini-series focused on program evaluation skills. The accompanying resource helps sport organizations with all aspects of evaluation, from start to finish: Toolkit: Mastering the Art of Evaluation.

The spring 2021 SIRCuit was published, including an important article focused on addressing climate change in the Canadian sport sector.


LGBTQ2S+ Pride Flag with shadows of people in the backgroundOn International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT)—a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities marked annually on May 17th—SIRC published an educational piece in collaboration with Egale Canada.


In June, SIRC published a unique blog diving into a new model of co-participation for women and girls in sport called “Swim Together.” The program was developed in collaboration between University of Waterloo researchers, the Township of Woolwich, Ontario, and the Woolwich Wave Swim Team.


The Tokyo Olympics was one of Team Canada’s most successful Summer Games ever. Our country’s 24 medals were good for 11th overall and was the second-highest total in Canada’s history at the Summer Olympics.

SIRC published a Special Edition SIRCuit in the lead-up to the Tokyo Games, including four articles that showcase Canadian leadership at the highest level of sport with regards to safe sport and concussion. The spirit of Canadian athletes shines through this article, Can you hear me now? The emergence of the athlete voice in Canadian Sport.


Canada’s Paralympic Team put in a strong effort at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, earning 21 total medals and five golds, and again the leadership of Canada’s Paralympians shone through.

From the para-sport community, Stephanie Dixon, Chef de Mission for Canada’s 2020 Paralympic Team is featured in this SIRC article: Performing in a Pandemic: The Resilience and Leadership of Canadian Athletes.


Para athlete passing a ball during a wheelchair basketball gameCanada’s inaugural Concussion Awareness Week took place September 26 – October, 2021. To help the week gain momentum across Canada, SIRC published a concussion themed SIRCuit that same week. These were five articles diving into the latest advances of concussion safety in Canadian sport. The article that’s resonated the most has been Concussion in Para athletes: One size doesn’t fit all, featuring Dr. Jamie Kissick who speaks to the gaps in para-sport concussion research as well as the work that’s being done to address it.


The 15th annual Sport Canada Research Initiative (SCRI) Conference brought together more than 1,000 stakeholders in Canadian sport virtually to hear from Canada’s leaders and researchers on the latest research and innovations in Canadian sport.

All the key sessions are available on SIRC’s YouTube page, including a panel titled Truth and recognition: what this means for sport leaders.


To help support and advance gender equity in Canadian sport, SIRC partnered with Canadian Women & Sport to create a series of webinars titled Engaging Girls and Women in Sport Mini Series. Part 3 of the series – Engaging Black Community Coaches – takes place in Feb. 2022!


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, mothers continue to be put under pressure. Following the Mom’s Got Game campaign in the spring, SIRC published another new article focused on supporting moms in December, titled “Playing for team motherhood”: Returning to team sport after childbirth. Stay tuned for more content to support moms in the spring of 2022!

Thank you to everyone who collaborated, partnered, and contributed to SIRC in 2021! And a special shout-out to SIRC’s readers, viewers, and participants. Your participation and support are crucial to SIRC’s network and the knowledge-to-action process. We’re excited to welcome you back to SIRC’s channels in 2022!

Sport organizations were challenged to adapt their programming during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering unique opportunities for program evaluation. While organizations that paused their programs had a chance to step back and formulate new evaluation questions, organizations that changed their programming reported an increased value of evaluation due to shifts in program goals or delivery.